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Driver Gets Probation in Fatal Drag Race

A Sylmar man convicted of involuntary manslaughter for participating in a drag race that claimed the lives of three of his friends was sentenced Wednesday to three years’ probation and required to spend 250 hours talking to others about his crime.

Kenneth Acosta, 21, pleaded no contest earlier this month to two counts stemming from the March 4 accident that killed Shannon Haupt, 20, and Michael Encinas and Pablo Munoz, both 18.

He faced up to two years in county jail before defense attorney James Barnes reached a settlement with the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.

In a Van Nuys courtroom filled with sobbing relatives of the deceased, Superior Court Judge Meredith C. Taylor also prohibited Acosta from driving--other than to and from school and work--during his probation. He must also reimburse the victims’ families for funeral costs.

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Some relatives of the victims had argued for jail time. “I don’t think it was right,” said Hector Munoz, brother of Pablo Munoz. “They let him off too easily.”


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